In their season finale, the Rainbow Warrior football team couldn’t give their seniors a proper send off against BYU, as Hawaii lost to the Cougars 30-20 Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
It was evident from the beginning of the game that the Warriors (3-9) weren’t ready for BYU’s (4-9) rushing attack, as Cougars running back Squally Canada took it to the house in the opening two minutes of the game on a 40-yard run.
With a 7-0 lead under their belt, the Cougars defense was able to neutralize the Warriors offense, in particular running back Diocemy Saint Juste.
While Saint Juste did break the program’s single-season rushing record, he was bottled up for the majority of the game. He finished with 39 yards on 12 carries.
BYU was in business and looked to put the game out of reach early on, but toward the end of the first quarter, quarterback Joe Critchlow was strip-sacked by Trayvon Henderson and the fumble was scooped up by Solomon Matautia who returned it to the house for six.
Just minutes into the second quarter, Canada found the end zone for a second time on a four yard run and 10 minutes later, the Cougars were at it again as Critchlow found Butch Pau’u from 11 yards out for the easy score to go ahead 20-7.
The Warriors offense, which has struggled in recent weeks, wasn’t gaining any traction. But in the fourth, quarterback Dru Brown began to show signs of life.
At the 12:23 mark, Brown eluded the BYU defenders and found Ammon Barker for a 14-yard score to trail 20-13. After BYU scored a field goal 6 minutes later, it was up to Hawaii to bring itself back within striking distance.
However, the ‘Bows couldn’t convert on third and fourth downs when it mattered most.
BYU running back Riley Burt took over for Canada, who left the game in the first half due to injury, was able to score on an easy 11-yard touchdown run with 3:46 left in the game. Hawaii scored a consolation touchdown with 1:48 left in quarter after Brown found Kumoku Noa, but it was too little, too late for the Warriors.
Hawaii sends off 20 seniors with a sour taste in their mouths, but they were honored by friends, family and fans post game. The team has a lot of work to do ahead of next season, but at least there’s a lot of time for improvement before the Warriors begin next season as they host Navy on Sept. 1, 2018.
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